Inline markup considered harmful?

Len Bullard cbullard at
Fri Jun 18 03:16:12 BST 1999

Rick Jelliffe wrote:
> Nelson's main objection to inline markup seems to be that it upsets
> byte counts; but this is because counting bytes is the basis of
> his counting system.  I don't know of anyone else who has systems
> where counting bytes is important, so it does not seem a good general
> objection.

Right.  I've not seen any systems based on tumblers even while the idea
> A more serious objection is that one can do already external markup with
> or XML: HyTime was specifically created to allow indexing into any kind
> of object including plain text files and structured data.  I don't know
> if
> XPointers will be capable of indexing into strings: indexing can be
> unreliable
> unless the kind of normalization of the text is known.

Precisely.   What HyTime speaks to is the classification of 
the general forms of hyperlinking and indexing.  One has to 
choose which form suits a job, where is the highest target 
granularity necessary, and what is the cost in both process 
and in disturbing the original text, or creating a new one.  

It was my hope that once the political agendas mellowed, 
that work such as HyTime, TEI, etc. would be synthesized 
and realized as the XML set.  So far, still waiting but 
not idle.  Relational tables with URLs do a nice job 
for many practical cases.  ASP sucks but it works.  I 
get excited by having such tools for so cheap when I 
remember just how expensive the GE CALS system was to 
build, how close we came with IADS, and so forth.  The 
toys are much better now and there are lots more people 
using them.  Good times, really.


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